Alabama Culinary Schools
With its variety of cuisines and deep roots in American food, Alabama can be a great state for culinary students. With 4.8 million residents, you can be sure that someone is always looking for a bite to eat. Many of these people live in Alabama's biggest cities, which include Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile. There are lots of high-quality restaurants in Alabama, including Amsterdam Cafe, Fuji Sushi Bar, and Ricatoni's Italian Grill.
Thanks to its variety of cuisines and deep roots in American food, Alabama has lots of culinary options. With 4.8 million residents, you can be sure that someone is always looking for a bite to eat. Many of these people live in Alabama's biggest cities, which include Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile. There are lots of high-quality restaurants in Alabama, including Amsterdam Cafe, Fuji Sushi Bar, and Ricatoni's Italian Grill.
Alabama is home to six culinary schools, including one that offers a graduate-level degree. An average tuition cost of $6,380 and average scholarship award of $2,466 can give you a very affordable education experience.
There are several different culinary degree levels. The shortest program is a certificate, which you can typically complete in one year or less. If you want an Associate's degree, you can plan on spending about two years in school to get your degree. A Bachelor's degree offers the most thorough entry-level education, but it takes a full four years.
The courses you take and skills you learn in culinary school depend significantly on what a school's requirements are. Most certificate and Associate's-level programs teach basic knife skills, how to debone and filet different proteins, and how to match flavors. You'll also learn different cooking techniques like steaming, braising, and poaching. You may take courses that teach you which cooking methods are best for different types of food.
A very important part of your culinary program is the safety training. Each state has its own health and safety boards, but all have very stringent requirements for restaurants. Incorrect kitchen behavior can lead to a restaurant being shut down.
Some degree programs, particularly Bachelor's and Master's degree programs, also include a business component. Many chefs go on to own their own restaurants, which means that you need to be able to manage staff, keep track of food costs, and create menus that bring customers back.
With your new culinary skills, there are several different career paths you can pursue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most chefs work in restaurants, although there are also chefs in hotels or private homes.
If you want to work in a restaurant, you generally need to start as a line chef. This is the lowest rank in the kitchen, and you need to prove yourself before getting a specialty title in the kitchen. With time and experience, you may be able to rise to the level of sous chef or executive chef.
Some of the largest culinary employers in Alabama include Gecko Hospitality, Sheraton Birmingham, and Sysco Corporation. You can also choose to open your own restaurant or catering business.
As is the case in many states, there are no licensing or certification requirements for cooks/chefs in Alabama. Rather than getting a job based on certification or licensure, most chefs have to work their way up from the bottom. However, there are some certifications that can make finding a job easier. The American Culinary Federation offers a variety of certifications from Certified Culinarian to Certified Master Pastry Chef.
Salaries for chefs in Alabama vary, depending on a few factors. If you work in a restaurant, you'll earn the most money as an executive chef. Executive chefs run the entire kitchen. Sous chefs, as second-in-command in the kitchen, earn slightly less than executive chefs. Chefs with special skills—for instance, pastry chefs—can usually command higher salaries. Overall, O*Net reports that cooks and head cooks earn average salaries of $19,000 per year and $39,800 per year, respectively.
Since hospitality is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States, the demand for cooks is also on the rise. The overall demand for cooks is expected to increase 14% between 2010 and 2020, leading to 430 new job openings per year in Alabama. This number may also increase as new restaurants pop up.